Matt Chapman is back and has his say on the opening day of the York Ebor Festival – he's all over the monster Ghaiyyath

AN uncontested lead.

It’s the most dangerous weapon in top class racing and it’s exactly what GHAIYYATH (3.15) should get in today’s feature race on Day 1 of York’s Ebor meeting live on ITV.

Ghaiyyath tackles a small but select field in the Juddmonte International, a race taken by some of the greats of the sport in the past, including, of course, the sponsor’s very own equine superstar Frankel.

It appears Godolphin big gun Ghaiyyath has come of age this term, landing the Coronation Cup and Eclipse — beating King George heroine Enable — and a hat-trick of Group 1 wins now awaits.

His jockey William Buick will surely adopt the same tactics from the front — winding up the pace before hitting full throttle a couple of furlongs from home — which saw Ghaiyyath bully his rivals at Newmarket and Sandown

Looking at today’s line-up only the big outsider Rose Of Kildare will try and take Ghaiyyath on up front.

And even allowing for the fact Mark Johnston frontrunners are  the hardest horses in racing to pass, I can’t see her staying with Ghaiyyath for long.

Of course it would have been interesting if Aidan O’Brien had done what he often does in the biggest races and entered a couple of pacemakers but he hasn’t and the way is clear for Ghaiyyath to boss things.

Of course, it’s a high-class line-up with Guineas winner Kameko, six-time Group 1 heroine Magical and John Gosden’s progressive Lord North in opposition but with Buick keeping things simple it is hard to see anything other than Ghaiyyath domination.


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The first race of a cracking four days of action on ITV kicks off with a sprint handicap and I’m tipping ARECIBO (1.45) to finally come to the party.

He is a pain in the backside — and the wallet — I know but he is so well handicapped my heart says I have to give him another go — even though my head says Jawwaal will be hard to beat.

Trained by David O’Meara and ridden by Danny Tudhope, Arecibo has run really well on his last two visits to York and you can forget his last effort as a small field is not his thing.

The classy stuff starts in the next with the Group 3 Acorn Stakes — a race dripping with promise.

I will have a few quid each-way here on ROYAL SCIMITAR (2.15) for the Golden Horde team of Clive Cox and Adam Kirby.

My hope won in tenacious style on his debut at Newbury and the runner-up has since gone in twice. The extra furlong here should be ideal and he has every chance of being decent.

MOGUL (2.45) has always been held in high regard by Ryan Moore and Aidan O’Brien and he bounced back to his best at Glorious Goodwood.

He’s not unbeatable in the Great Voltigeur over a mile and a half  — and Darain is a fascinating runner — but I just think he will have enough.
As I’ve said already I fancy Ghaiyyath to power home in the feature — and I am sure Magical can dig deep enough to beat the rest — before the last race on the telly, a tough two-mile handicap which can go to MAKAWEE (3.45).

Another O’Meara runner my fancy has been  running well enough over shorter to have every chance of at least reaching a place in this.

She is dropping down the weights a fraction and has proved in the past this trip is not an issue. I give her an each-way shout at a big price.


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